THE GIFT

I love an opportunity to give a gift. Little, playful gifts for everyday occasions. A box of sea salt for a friend I haven’t seen in awhile. A tin of anchovies for a gracious host. A haunting book of photographs as a signal of my affection.

As a child, I observed that my parents never let dinner guests leave empty-handed. They’d instinctively offer a bag of tangerines from our backyard or a carton of delicious leftovers. All of my aunties did the same. There was an exclamation of gratitude for this kind of hospitality in Chinese — 又 吃, 又 带 (yòu chī, yòu dài)– “not only eat, but take away as well!” I dig this gifting custom. It’s like the old innkeeper wrapping up a hunk of bread and cheese for a voyager’s sojourn ahead — a gesture of goodwill and fellow feeling.

This granola is exactly the kind of thing to send your guests home with. It’s generously packed with pistachios and sour cherries, just sweet enough and a little salty, perfect for a snack or a wholesome breakfast. It says, “I’m looking out for you, my friend.”

IMG_6951

GRANOLA with PISTACHIOS & SOUR CHERRIES 
(adapted recipe from Eleven Madison Park)

for 6-7 cups:
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup shelled pistachios*
1 cup dried sour cherries
1/3 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 ½ teaspoons sea salt
1/3 cup light brown sugar**
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 300 degrees Farenheit. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, pistachios, pumpkin seeds and salt. In a small saucepan set over low heat, warm the sugar, maple syrup and olive oil until the sugar has just dissolved, then remove from heat. Fold liquids into the mixture of oats, making sure to coat the dry ingredients well. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, and spread granola in an even layer. Bake until dry and lightly golden, 35 to 40 minutes, stirring granola a few times along the way. Remove granola from oven and allow to cool completely before mixing in the dried sour cherries. Transfer to a storage container.

*If you are using toasted pistachios, add them to the mix after the oats have been baked. If you are using salted pistachios, cut the salt.
**The brown sugar can be cut for a lighter granola. I prefer to use more maple syrup and less sugar.

 

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